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Savory Italian Bread Pudding W/bacon

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Author: Jamie Claire Riser | The Sparkle Kitchen

Special thanks to Jamie Claire Kiser of The Sparkle Kitchen for sharing this Savory Italian Bread Pudding with Hickory Smoked Bacon recipe with us.

Sunday brunch is on the very top of my list of favorite things. I absolutely love starting the day slowly on the weekends and cooking a from-scratch breakfast, catching up on the week and sipping mimosas. This savory Italian bread pudding is perfect if you have any “little helpers” in the kitchen, as there are plenty of easy steps (like cracking the eggs, cutting or tearing the bread into small chunks, etc.) that you can do as a family.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
¼ cup shallots, finely chopped
1 ½ cups sliced Portobello mushrooms
1 cup sundried tomatoes, sliced into strips
¼ teaspoon oregano
¼ cup dry white wine
4 large eggs
5 cups day-old bread, sliced into cubes
1 ½ cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 ½ tablespoons sundried tomato pesto (optional)
1 cup grated mozzarella
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated (plus extra to sprinkle on top)

1.) Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit.
2.) Arrange bacon slices on a baking tray in a single layer. Place in oven and bake for 25 minutes, until bacon is fully cooked and starting to brown. Remove from oven, but leave temperature set to 350. When bacon is cooked, remove excess oil with a paper towel and crumble into pieces. Set aside.
3.) While bacon is cooking, prepare the vegetable mixture. Heat olive oil, garlic, and shallots in a large skillet on medium heat and cook for three minutes.
4.) Add mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, and oregano to skillet and stir occasionally for five minutes, until mushrooms are cooked.
5.) Pour in white wine and cook for additional five minutes, until absorbed. Turn skillet heat off.
6.) Whisk eggs in a large bowl. Add half-and-half, milk, parsley, basil, salt, pepper, and sundried tomato pesto (if using). Slowly incorporate bread cubes, stirring to make sure all pieces are damp. Add more half-and-half, if needed.
7.) Stir in vegetable mixture, bacon crumbles, and cheeses.
8.) Pour bread pudding into a greased 9x9 baking dish, patting down with a wooden spoon to make sure that the finished product is dense.
9.) Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350, until golden brown. Serve hot.

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